Gram Panchyat led micro Enterprise Development 210509
Gram Panchayat led micro Enterprise Development in India
Gram Panchayat (GP) is the lowest local self governance unit in rural India. Since early
nineties (after the 73rd constitutional amendment), there has been increasing emphasis on
involvement of GP in planning and implementation of development schemes. Currently,
Gram Panchayat is actively involved in implementation of different development schemes
like National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) and watershed development.
Most of the welfare and social security schemes like Public Distribution System (PDS) and
old age pension are also implemented through Gram Panchayat. Different Government
Departments, Rural Livelihood Projects (RLPs) and in some cases Civil Society
Organizations (CSOs), consider GP as unit of planning and implementation. In most parts of
the country, Gram Panchayat functionaries are usually consulted while initiating
development activities in the Gram Panchayat.
Besides implementation of development and welfare schemes, Gram Panchayat has been
given authority of leasing Common Property Resources like ponds, river beds, waste lands;
licensing to take up different enterprising activities like trading of Non Timber Forest
Produce (NTFPs); and also collection of taxes like from local Hats/market yards. Under
different schemes, Gram Panchayat is also entrusted to develop enterprise related
infrastructures like storage godown, market yards and roads. Over the last two decades,
Gram Panchayat has emerged as the centre of development efforts across the country. Most
of these activities of GP are either directly or indirectly linked to micro Enterprises.
Micro Enterprises play a key role in development process. Existence and growth of micro
Enterprises relate to availability of skill and natural resources in a smaller geographical area
(like GP); and also purchasing power in the area. Gram Panchayat and micro Enterprises in
the GP relate to each other. While micro Enterprises contribute to direct revenue of Gram
Panchayat, GP can promote and strengthen the micro Enterprises through different
development schemes. However, in reality it is quite different. Activities by Gram
Panchayat not necessarily relate to micro Enterprises functioning in the GP. GP is perceived
to have very limited role in development of micro Enterprises.
However, GP could support development of micro Enterprises through systematic planning
and monitoring development schemes which has direct and indirect contribution to growth
of micro Enterprises. With focus on decentralized planning process, some of the GPs have
initiated development of Micro Plan. Different schemes of Government including NREGS
also emphasises on planning at GP level. Most of these plans focus on creation of
infrastructures like roads and water harvesting structure in the GPs. Planning for micro
development of micro Enterprises could be an integral part of the plan. Local Government
functionaries, functionaries of Civil Society Organization (CSO) and community
representatives can be involved in the planning process. To start with it can be just listing
down on going/planned interventions under different schemes and how they support
micro Enterprises in the GP. Further the plan could be monitored at regular intervals.
Besides development efforts, GP can also support micro Enterprises from governance point
of view. This includes incorporating view point of micro Enterprises in the Gram Panchayat
in leasing of common property resources, giving different licenses and in collection of taxes.
There is potential to promote GP led micro Enterprise development in India.
Vrutti – A Livelihoods Resource Centre, Part of Catalyst Group;
19, 1st Main, 1st Cross, Ashwath Nagar, RMV 2nd Stage, Bangalore 560094, India